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The Best Wine Books of 2021

Even in the decade or so since the first edition was published, much in Burgundy has changed. Mr. Morris, a retired wine merchant who lives in the region, has extensively updated and expanded the book. Readers appalled by the skyrocketing price of Burgundy will be happy to see additional information on the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais, where they might still find affordable wines.

Mr. Morris also addresses the fallout of climate change, the rise of aligoté (possibly a byproduct of climate change) and how the rising price of land in Burgundy affects the small family estates, which have formed much of the region’s image.

At nearly 800 pages, this is a big book. What it does not contain are detailed tasting notes, a wise editorial decision that permits more important issues to be explored. While Mr. Morris briefly addresses the issue of premature oxidation, which has plagued white Burgundies off and on over the last 25 years, I wish he had dedicated a little more space to clarifying exactly where things now stand. Nonetheless, if you love Burgundy, this is an essential volume.

Credit…Courtesy of Hachette Books

Natural wine has spawned all sorts of fantasies among those peering in at that world. The unkind and deluded might sneer at hipster sommeliers saddling unwilling customers with their funky wines, made by unwashed hippies. More empathetic sorts might think of its denizens as wayward youth who must be permitted their mistakes before coming to their senses.

Rachel Signer’s new book, “You Had Me at Pét-Nat: A Natural Wine-Soaked Memoir” (Hachette, $28) offers a view from inside the world, demonstrating that young people in natural wine can be much like young people anywhere, trying to find a way to make a living doing what they find meaningful while searching for love and companionship.

As the story opens, Ms. Signer is a young, would-be writer in New York supporting herself by working in restaurants. After falling in love with pétillant naturel, an ancient style of sparkling wine revived by natural wine producers, she is drawn headlong into this alt-community, which seems to have its own networks of shops, wine bars, restaurants and wine fairs.


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